NAIROBI, Sep 24 – Kenyan forces are defusing explosive devices set up by Islamist militants inside a still ongoing shopping mall siege, where extremists claim to be still holding hostages, police said Tuesday.,
“We are doing clean-up of explosives that had been set up by the terrorists,” Kenyan police said in a message on Twitter.
Sporadic gunfire at the upmarket Westgate mall broke out again at dawn, hours after officials claimed Kenyan troops had wrested back “control” of the sprawling complex from Somalia’s Shabaab insurgents, who are said to include Americans and a British woman.
Shooting has been heard on and off throughout Tuesday morning.
No details were released about the nature and size of the explosives, but it adds an extra dangerous element to the siege, which has now dragged on for over 72-hours.
At least 62 shoppers and staff have been killed and close to 200 wounded in the siege, but concerns are high that the toll may yet rise, with the Shabaab boasting about “countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall”.
The fate of 63 people listed as missing remains unclear.
Shabaab fighters stormed the crowded mall midday on Saturday, tossing grenades, firing automatic weapons and sending panicked shoppers fleeing.